Call for councils to act on sky lanterns

Sky lantern debris found yards from a thatched home
Sky lantern debris found yards from a thatched home
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A country business leader has written to all the councils in the east urging them to use entertainment licences to ban sky lanterns.

The Country Land and Business Association (CLA) has a nationwide campaign to get a ban on the sale of the lanterns, which work like a small hot air balloon with a burning candle inside.

Farming and wildlife organisations say they are a fire risk and their wire or bamboo frames endanger wild and domestic animals which swallow or get caught in them.

But CLA East’s regional director Nicola Curry said today that efforts to get the Government to act had drawn a blank so she has written directly to district councils asking them to add a clause to entertainment licences banning the use of sky lanterns. An Oxfordshire district council has done this for a couple of years.

Ms Currie said: “I thought that if one district council could do this, so could the others. With the New Year celebrations I felt this was the time to raise the issue.

“It makes huge sense in Suffolk because we have innumerable thatched properties, huge straw stacks and large agricultural and wildlife areas.”

The east’s low rainfall and the large dry heathland areas of the Brecks adds to the risk.

“Of all places this is the part of England that should be doing something about it,” she added. “The fire brigades say it is only a matter of time before we have a major disaster.

“They’re absolutely lethal — you’re setting free a lighted flame in a balloon that can fly for 20 minutes.

“The manufacturers try to advertise them as ‘farmer friendly’ because they have a bamboo frame but that doesn’t stop the fire risk and bamboo is just as sharp as wire if animals swallow it.”